Malware vs. Viruses

What is the difference between Malware and a Virus?

The difference between malware and viruses is, in short, that viruses are a subcategory of malware. Malware is any type of computer code written deliberately to cause damage to a device, like a laptop, smartphone, or server, and viruses certainly fit the bill. Like biological viruses, computer viruses seek to spread and replicate themselves. 

Other examples of malware include ransomware, Trojans, and cryptojackers. 

Ransomware, a type of malware that encrypts users’ data for the purpose of extorting a ransom, was first seen around 2012. Since then, it’s been responsible for some of the most devastating cyberattacks in history. Two 2017 cyberattacks alone were responsible for upwards of $5.2 billion in damages. Banking Trojans (a type of malware designed to mimic legitimate software) were some of 2018’s most prolific threats. Cryptojackers, another type of popular malware, infect websites with code that commandeers user CPU for the purpose of mining cryptocurrencies. 

For home and home office users, an antivirus solution is the key to staying safe from viruses and other types of malware. It’s important the antivirus be cloud-based, rather than rely on traditional definition-based solutions, which cannot protect against unknown threats. 

Businesses, on the other hand, must account for devices, networks, and users for complete protection. Webroot® Business Endpoint Protection acts most like a home antivirus, while Webroot® DNS Protection blocks malware at the network-level.

Of increasing importance for businesses, however, is the importance users play in an organization’s overall cybersecurity posture. Since even the strongest protection can’t protect against a user unwittingly opening the front door to threats, the importance of user awareness training is gaining recognition.

For more on the importance of user education, visit the Webroot® Security Awareness Training page here.

Find the right cybersecurity solution for you.